City wanderings - and a pilgrimage to some of the best eating and drinking spots in Brussels. Or maybe not eating or drinking - ah, oh well.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


At night ring the buzzer to be admitted to this art deco bar, like a small theatre with upstairs gallery, faded upholstered chairs and wood panelling.  Two large aquamarine pillars hold up a ceiling with the curves of an grand old ocean liner, the walls are custard yellow and a huge vase of cream lillies sits atop the piano, which is centre stage, shrouded in black. 

In another life I'd have liked to have been a jazz pianist: instead sometimes I find myself dancing around this piano, while mysterious regulars at the bar look on shrouded in smoke.  The drinks list is extensive, including whiskies and cocktails prepared by people who know how.  Imagine encounters between stocky greying men in white shirts and gold watches, slowly drawing on a cigar while their blond companions daintily sip their G&Ts, or come to observe solitary enthusiasts from up high in the gallery.

Most recently I came to listen to some "jazz après le shopping" on Saturday.   Slumped in one of the balcony armchairs I savoured the little bit of glamour that remains here and in places such as Café Metropole, and wished I could dress more suitably in a 1920s cocktail dress to enjoy the table service, the chocolate wrapped in gold paper, the view over peoples' heads.

I listened to a rendition of "Kind of Blue" played by young lads in shirts.  I had never heard a double bass made to sound like a didgeridoo or sitar before.  The jazz is languid, matching my mood: just another timeless Saturday afternoon in L'Archiduc.

L'Archiduc hosts “le jazz après le shopping” and "Round about 5" on Saturday and Sunday.

rue Antoine Dansaert, 6
1000 Brussels
Tel:+32 (0)2 512 06 52
Open every day from 16:00 until 05:00

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